TOSTI: Swamp Rabbits Fall to Admirals Second Half Surge
Greenville hangs even with Norfolk but club falls victim to a career night by Christian Horn.
BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Norfolk, VA – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-34-7-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, held a 2-2 tie with the Norfolk Admirals (24-32-6-1) in the second period but were upended by their South Division opponent 6-3 at the Norfolk Scope tonight. Greenville and Norfolk square off again tomorrow night at 7 p.m., facing off for the sixth and final time this season.
Greenville was relentless right from the drop of the puck. The Admirals were on their heels for much of the first period and the effort paid off. Matt Prapavessis chased down the Admirals behind the net and forced a turnover to Joe Basaraba on the left side of the crease. A quick tap by the alternate captain found the inside of the right post to put Greenville up 1-0 less than five minutes into the opening period.
One call would change the momentum of the game in the first period. After a faceoff, Grant Besse came to the bench with an injury to his face. Play resumed for nearly two minutes before a stoppage came to the play. Norfolk was awarded a four-minute power play chance for high sticking and the Admirals took advantage of it. Christian Horn net two goals from the left circle on the power play to begin a career best four-point night. The power play tallies put the Admirals ahead at the intermission with 14 shots on net.
In the second period, a perfect step up by the Swamp Rabbits forced a turnover on the right wing. Dawson Leedahl stepped up to force the puck away from the Admirals and passed it over to Sean Flanagan on the left side of the ice. The defenseman then one-touched the puck to J.T. Henke in front of the crease for a wide-open tap in. The rookie’s third of the season tied the game up less than four minutes into the second period.
The Admirals capitalized on another break to retake the lead. A clearing effort hit the skate of a Norfolk defender getting onto the bench and bounced the other way. Domenic Alberga scooped it up and moved into the offensive zone before passing the puck across to Alex Pompeo on the left side of the ice. The one-timer beat Ty Rimmer in net at 8:25 of the period giving Norfolk an advantage they never surrendered. Rimmer made 27 saves in the contest but was saddled with the loss. His counterpart Ty Reichenbach finished the game with 26 saves for the win.
Horn completed the hat trick before the end of the period. The winger turned the puck up the ice on an odd-man rush. While sliding into the slot, he toe-dragged around a defender and launched a shot just inside the post for his 14th of the season. The Admirals took the 4-2 lead into the break.
Grant Besse and Alberga earned a pair of goals in the third period off of turnovers that extended the lead to 6-2. Garret Clemment then tacked on one for Greenville in the final four minutes in transition. He followed up a loose puck from Austin McKay who was hooked on a partial breakaway, netting his fifth of the season past Reichenbach.